The Diamond Sutra is one of the most historically important texts in Buddhism, in part because a copy of it is the oldest surviving dated printed book in the world (868 A.D.). Also known by its Sanskrit title Vajracchedika, the Diamond Sutra states that something is what it is only because of what it is not. […]

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The  “Sermon on the Mount” is a central to the teachings of Jesus. It is a sermon that he gave to his disciples relatively early in his journey, and it contains the famous “Beatitudes”, blessings of people who are in the eyes of the world poor, stupid, unfortunate, or suffering. It also contains the “Lord’s […]

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The text was written around 54/55 in Corinth, Greece.  It is one of the core texts of Christian theology, and discusses the relations between nature, law, sin, and redemption.  I am quoting chapter 7, and the beginning of chapter 8. The translation is from the  New International Version, and the numbers in the text represent […]

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Before we can say what religious texts are, we have to define the concept of religion.  The idea of a “religious text” is already an interpretation, unless one just says that the text in question is central to a particular tradition of faith.  Texts like the Torah, the Bible, or the Vedas “anchor” religions, because […]

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The text of the prayer is from Matthew 6:9–13 (English Standard Version): “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead […]

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This is the quintessential Buddhist text. It was written in the first century CE, and the earliest record of a copy of the sūtra is a 200-250CE Chinese version attributed to the monk Zhi Qian. Translation by George Boeree. Avalokiteshvara, the Bodhisattva of Compassion, meditating deeply on Perfection of Wisdom, saw clearly that the five […]

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The Analects, or Lunyu, contain the words and acts of the central Chinese thinker and philosopher Confucius and his students. They were written during the Spring and Autumn Period through the Warring States Period (ca. 475 BC – 221 BC). The Analects are  the main work of Confucianism; the work continues to have a substantial […]

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